Fruit-a-Go-Go

appleRemember when butter was bad, eggs were evil, and avocados atrocious?  All denounced as little bombs of cholesterol and fat just waiting to pounce on your sad little arteries and clog them.  Having been vindicated, these 3 examples are considered, when used in moderation,  to be a part of any healthy diet.

But the banana.  The poor, poor, deliciously fruity and perfectly portable banana still gets a bad rap from a lot of people  I’ve had numerous “banana conversations” where I’ve been told that people have given up bananas, don’t eat bananas, used to eat bananas, all because of the high sugar content or that bananas are fattening.

It’s true.  Bananas have sugar.  All fruit does, actually. In the form of fructose which is a naturally occurring sugar .(This is NOT to be confused with high fructose corn syrup, an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance.)  But fruit is not fattening.  I don’t think there’s any study (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that shows a direct correllation between eating fruit and weight gain.*

People are not overweight because they ate a banana.  Or 3.  I think it’s physically impossible to fit more than one banana in your belly at once. It’s like drinking a gallon of milk,

However, I digress.

Some diets actually banish bananas and many other fruits to the “Do Not Eat” list.  The low-carb set comes to mind.

But my mission today is to encourage you all to go back to the banana and, in fact, (now call me crazy) but to bring back all fruits into your diet.   Fruits are soooo good for you.  It’s.  Insane.

Here’s just a few reasons you should eat fruit.

  • Fruit has been recognized as a good source of vitamins and minerals, and for their role in preventing vitamin C and vitamin A deficiencies.
  • People who eat fruit as part of an overall healthy diet generally have a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
  • Fruit are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid).

And that’s just 3, there are many more.

So don’t be afraid of fruit.  Pick up a banana.  Buy it.  Eat it.  Enjoy it.

AND reap the health benefits.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

*eating more calories than your body requires is stored as fat.  it doesn’t matter if you overeat fruit or cheetos.

 

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Decisions, decisions, decisions…

We make a lot of food or health-related decisions each day.  Eggs or oatmeal?  Half and half or milk?  3 miles or 5?  Sleep in or make it to boot-camp?

You can use willpower alone and gut it out or you can add another trick to your “health and wellness toolbox”.

Before making a decision to eat, drink, do or not do something ask yourself this little question “Will this help me reach my goal?” Here’s how it works.

Say you’re at the store and you see the doughnuts.  They smell great and look divine.  But because your goal is to lose weight so you can fit in your bathing suit, you may not think that doughnut is taking you closer to your goal so you decline.

Late nights and early mornings cause you to drag so much that you feel you’re too tired to get up early for a run. If you are training for a race or trying to stay consistent with exercise you may find that you forgo that extra 30 minutes of sleep for your run.   So deciding to get up for that run will take you closer to your goal.  (Note – total exhaustion is a good reason to take a rest day, but you get the gist).

Your goal and your goal alone will determine the decisions you make.  And basing your decisions on whether it’s taking you closer to or farther away from your goal may be much easier for you than steely willpower alone.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

Don’t Be Fooled By Your “Steps”

I have an activity monitor that I wear every day.  I enjoy seeing how many steps I rack up on days I run or workout and am often surprised at how many steps I hit if I don’t actually work out.  Most days, without doing anything extra than my normal workout, I hit 15,000 to 17,000 steps. Often times I’m close to 20,000 steps. I’m not bragging, that’s just what my numbers are.

I know that people are excited about how many steps they hit and on many activity monitors (such as the Garmin Vivofit that I have) shows  those steps translated into miles.  And you can also see how many calories you have burned.

But all of this tracking leads us to a little problem.  Many people are mistaking these normal activity steps or miles as exercise.  Sure, walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator is good.  Parking at the far lot when you drive to work or taking an evening stroll with your family after dinner is fantastic.  Please know that I’m not discounting how important it is to increase our movement.  Listen, our bodies are designed to move and the reality is that the majority of us are a sedentary society.

But, I hope you understand the importance of cardiovascular activity (to improve heart and lung function and burn calories, etc.) and strength training (to improve muscular endurance, bone density and to fire up your body’s metabolism, etc.).   Both components are important to create a strong and healthy body.

images stepsFeel free to count your steps and track your miles.  But make those steps and miles count.  (See how I did that there?)

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Fresh Starts

embrace it

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh, Monday!  Sure, it’s so cliche but Mondays are a good day for a re-do.

Here’s what you can do to set the tone for a super week.

  • Chop, chop, chop.  Cut veggies for snacks, for salads or to toss in the oven for a quick and tasty roasting.
  • Workout today.  No matter what.
  • K.I.S.S. (keep it super simple). Plan the same breakfast and lunch for the week.  Studies show that by limiting your options you’ll make healthier choices.
  • Move it to the rear.  Push chips, snacks and unhealthy treats to the back of the cupboard.  Out of sight, out of mind really works.

Have a great week.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

 

 

BMO Vancouver Marathon Recap

For those of you who are already madly clicking escape to avoid one of blow-by-blow accounts of the race I’ll give you the quick and dirty stats now and then you can move on.

Overall Course: Lovely. Vancouver is very clean. Very pretty. The first 5 or so miles are in manicured neighborhoods then parks and along the waterfront for the rest of the race finishing in downtown Vancouver. http://www.bmovanmarathon.ca/runvan-marathon/course-map-updates/

Elevation: The elevation profile of the race is between sea level and 225 feet or so which doesn’t seem like much. HOWEVER, those Canadians are a tricky bunch! The course includes continuous ups and downs. The entire race you are going slightly uphill or slightly downhill. Sure, when you actually inspect the profile you can see it but you can’t really “see” it until you’re feeling it. Sneaky Canucks!

Finish Time: 4 hours and 38 minutes**
**My official clock time is 4:39. However, there was a slight race snafu around mile 4. The race organizers had runners STOP at one light along the way so traffic could cross. My time at the light was about a minute so I feel no remorse in shaving that minute off my time and declaring a finish of 4:38.

This apparently created a big brouhaha in the running community so here’s a link where you can see runners being stopped at this particular light.  I actually found myself getting turned back to the corner and having to wait for the light to change- I’m at about 5 min 21 seconds in. Purple shirt, shorts and orange visor. https://youtu.be/RkLtQHbfV-I

Ok, that’s it for the short story. For those of you bored already, feel free to click to a funny cat video or watch a Lip-Sync battle with Jimmy Fallon.

The Race

First, Let’s Talk About the Platinum Experience

Lisa, my running partner in crime and I signed up for this event about 6 months ago. One of the smartest things we did was purchase the Platinum Package. For only $99 extra this is what we got.

Pre-race: Speedy packet pickup at the Expo, a VIP tent with heaters, mats for stretching, water, coffee, electrolyte drink AND private port-a-potties for our use only plus a special van for our bags. The bathrooms were probably the best part. They had a line of 10 or so pink port-a-potties and a line of 10 or so blue ones. Plus a security guard making sure that only people with the Platinum Bib could enter.

Finish Line: We were sent through a side chute to a VIP tented area on the side of the finish line so we could see the finishers, have wine, snacks and a seat for a while. Our bags were in a separate area and they had mats to stretch and foam rollers to well, roll on. I slugged back 3 little glasses of white wine and a sandwich after the race. Best. Ever.

Back to the Event

Our race started at Queen Elizabeth park. Many people have asked me where this is. It’s about 26.2 miles away from downtown Vancouver to be precise. Ha Ha – marathon joke!

The race started off through some well-manicured neighborhoods and through the infamous stop light and then up a very long hill at mile 5 or so. Funny but on the elevation profile it didn’t look like that much of a big deal but it was a very tough, long slow grind to the top. Bummer. I didn’t expect that. There were a lot of spectators along this part which was very helpful.

One we crested the hill we entered the outskirts of a very pretty wooded park. A bit of ups, a bit of downs greeted us on this part and then there was a gorgeous sweeping and very loooooong downhill to the water.

Short downhills will give you an opportunity to gain speed and shave some minutes of your pace. This downhill was so long that they actually cautioned us at the start of the race to brake on the way down or else our quads would be screaming later in the race. Point taken.

Finally the race was at sea level as we ran along the parks and waterfront of Vancouver. Again, there were lots of ups and downs. They were only small elevation gains and losses but you still had to adjust. The final hill was over the bridge before dropping us into Stanley Park. Think Chrissy Field in San Francisco.

There were boats on the water, snow-capped mountains in the background and a ton of people playing and enjoying the sunny weather.

We looped around the point and up one small incline around a lighthouse and then flattened out for the final outer loop around the park and up to downtown.

The race finished on an incline. Let me repeat that. The last half mile or so was uphill. I’m sorry, but this is a very, very, very cruel thing to do on a marathon. Finally the finish line was in sight and I just pushed as hard as I could to the end.

I was very well prepared for this race.  I had increased my total volume (the amount of miles I was running each week) and my long runs were strong.  This showed in the first half of the race.

My average pace through the first 13 miles was strong – 9:51. I was very happy because this included the very large hill early on and the stop light snafu that I mentioned before. But it was a very hard 13 miles. My legs were heavy from the start, I wasn’t running smoothly and my mental game was off.  I was feeling frustrated because I had trained hard for this race. The second half of the race required me to focus, dig deep and push to the end.

Post-Marathon Geek Alert

When I got home from the race I immediately downloaded my stats. According to my Garmin (which is akin to God in my world) I ran 26.38 miles in 4:39. I was impressed to see that some of my mile splits were under 9 minutes and most of the first half of the race my mile splits were under 10 minutes.

I also saw the undulations of the course. At each mile you can see the small gains and losses that totaled 1700 gain and 1900 loss on the course. That explained my achy legs.

Final Thoughts

It was a good race. It was a hard race. I ran fast when I could, ran slow when I had to and took more walking breaks. I’d count to 10 or 30 (out loud) and then start to run again. At one point, early on, I seriously considered stopping and waiting for Lisa to come along so we could run together and chat the rest of the way like we did at the Big Sur Marathon. But I knew that if I gave up I would have regretted not pushing all the way to the end so I kept running.

Most importantly I tried to keep my sense of humor and a good attitude. I thanked volunteers and tried to encourage other runners (we’re almost there!) and enjoyed the view and the spirit of what we were doing.

If you would have asked me during the run if I would continue my quest for a 10th marathon I would have said no. I thought “enough, I’m done”.

However, there is nothing like finishing a marathon. You are sore.  You are tired.  You are also exuberant and proud. Some people cry. Some people drop to the ground. Some need help from medical.

But no matter how you end up across the finish line there is no denying that you did it. You ran 26.2 miles. You are a marathoner. It erases all of the frustration you felt on the run.

So yes, there will be one more marathon so my goal of 10 by the time I’m 50.  Realistically it will be in my 50th year but I think that counts.  And since it may be my last marathon it will have to be “EPIC”.  Stay tuned..

But first I have another Ragnar Relay race to do in October…

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

There’s a lot of should’s that are tossed around with regards to health.  Run. Work out.  Eat less.  Sleep.  Drink water.  Eat fruits and veggies.  Stand more.  Sit less. Breathe.   And that’s the list I came up with in less than 5 seconds.

While making lifestyle changes is not easy, I don’t think it has to be so hard.

I firmly believe it’s easier in mind and body to tackle 1, maybe 2 things at a time than it is to make large, sweeping and yes, often overwhelming changes.  First of all, it can be a daunting and seemingly insurmountable task (it’s too much work, ergo I won’t attempt it) and secondly, there’s no reason that you have to make yourself miserable.  You can achieve your health goals and still live a happy and enjoyable life.  No need for plain baked chicken and dry salad or torturing yourself on the dreadmill.

My only caveat to this plan is that if you are in a serious medical state that requires immediate changes that you do what your doctor says.  Otherwise, try a saner approach.

1.  Work on fixing a big and a small “problem” at the same time.

Here’s what I mean.  My diet has become a bit sloppy during the tail end of my marathon training and I have also doubled my coffee intake while reducing my water.  (Welcome to post-marathon fatigue and malaise).  So the big fix I’m  tackling first is to cut out the snacking and picking and noshing anytime I’m around foodstuffs.  No handfuls of this or that while I’m prowling the cupboard.  No bites or bits of my kid’s lunches as I prepare them.

The smaller fix is to drink more water.  Water first, then coffee.  Water with meals, water on the go.  Keep refilling the water bottle and slugging it down.  That one is easy once I start focusing on it.

Here’s some Psych 101 for you, mastering a small goal or task will help build confidence and encouragement for a larger goal.

2.   Give yourself more than a minute.

The creation of healthy habits won’t be mastered overnight.  You need to continually work at new habit so that it becomes ingrained in your every day behavior.  Here’s an example of how to do it.  Say you have ice cream every night while watching tv.  You don’t measure it out, you just scoop it into a big bowl or eat right from the carton.   And you decide this is a habit that could use some tweaking.

Start by adding fruit to your mondo bowl of ice cream.  Don’t cut portion size.  Yet. Do this for a few days and then start adding more fruit and less ice cream.  Then in a few days more fruit and less ice cream.

Maybe a few days after that move to a smaller bowl and pile on the fruit and top it with a small scoop of ice cream.  In a few days sub out the ice cream for maybe yogurt and fruit.   Soon you’ll realize you don’t miss the ice cream every night or you consider it a once in a while treat.

Yes.  This will take longer than cutting out ice cream completely.  But honestly, that method sucks because it involves suffering and I, who run marathons and love big hills, hate suffering.  Go figure.

3.  Cut yourself some slack

How many of you have starved yourself after a particularly out of control eating weekend.  Or went for a run, a class or hit ‘the box’ after not doing any exercise or a while?  How did that work for you?

I like to push myself physically and I think everyone can benefit from intense exercise but there’s no need to punish yourself.    Start slow, set a goal and every day your job is to do something that gets you closer to that goal.

Don’t judge.  Don’t should all over yourself.  But also, don’t give up.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet!

A common problem among newer or even-seasoned exercisers is that people think their workout is all they need to lose weight.  Studies have shown that the most effective way to lose weight is to reduce the amount of food you eat.

Exercise is important for overall health and well-being (mobility, muscular and bone strength and flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning) but if you are not watching what you eat, you won’t lose weight.

There are no miracles and you definitely can’t out-exercise a bad diet.  No matter how hard you try!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂